What Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Do?

Substance abuse counselors provide both individual and group therapy for patients suffering from addictions, including alcohol and drug addiction. You may offer help to prevent addictions or assist individuals recovering from an addiction as a substance abuse counselor. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Substance abuse counselors work with individuals and groups in various treatment settings, including healthcare facilities, rehabilitation institutes, correctional institutes, community organizations, and social agencies. As of 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors held 80,130 jobs. The industries employing the highest level of workers were outpatient centers, residential centers, and individual and family services.

In this career, you may provide prevention, crisis care, and recovery services. You may also work with families of addicts. In addition to helping individuals with addictions to alcohol or drugs, you may work with people affected by behavioral issues, such as eating disorders or gambling.

Duties and Responsibilities

Your work duties as a substance abuse counselor may include conducting interviews with potential patients, administering periodic drug tests, and conducting counseling sessions. You will also handle duties such as reviewing records to assess treatment program readiness, keeping records detailing treatment and progress, and developing appropriate plans for treatment based on individual history and needs. To ensure patients receive the proper care, you may review and analyze patient treatment plans to evaluate progress and meet with other staff members and health professionals to discuss patient progress. When patients are ready to leave treatment, you continue to help by developing aftercare programs and follow-up procedures.

Employment Requirements

Each state handles its own regulations for substance abuse counselors, and there is no standard among the requirements. Some states may only require a high school diploma and certification for employment. Some states require licensure, which may entail meeting education standards, having experience in the field, and passing a licensing exam. In addition, you may need to submit continuing education documentation to maintain your license. Some state requirements may mandate the completion of at least a master's degree program or certification to become licensed.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

Popular Schools

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • DeVry University

    DeVry University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at DeVry University:

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • Arizona: Glendale, Mesa, Phoenix
    • California: Alhambra, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Colton, Daly City, Elk Grove, Fremont, Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, Oxnard, Palmdale, Pomona, San Diego, San Jose, Sherman Oaks
    • Colorado: Colorado Springs, Greenwood Village, Westminster
    • Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Tampa
    • Georgia: Alpharetta, Atlanta, Decatur, Duluth, Stockbridge
    • Illinois: Addison, Chicago, Downers Grove, Elgin, Gurnee, Naperville, Tinley Park
    • Indiana: Indianapolis, Merrillville
    • Maryland: Bethesda
    • Michigan: Southfield
    • Minnesota: Edina
    • Missouri: Kansas City, Saint Louis
    • North Carolina: Charlotte, Morrisville
    • New Jersey: Cherry Hill, North Brunswick, Paramus
    • Nevada: Henderson
    • New York: New York, Rego Park
    • Ohio: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Seven Hills
    • Oklahoma: Oklahoma City
    • Oregon: Portland
    • Pennsylvania: Fort Washington, King of Prussia, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
    • Tennessee: Memphis, Nashville
    • Texas: Austin, Fort Worth, Houston, Irving, Richardson, San Antonio, Sugar Land
    • Utah: Sandy
    • Virginia: Arlington, Chesapeake, Manassas
    • Washington: Bellevue, Federal Way, Lynnwood
    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Medaille College

    Medaille College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Medaille College:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Post University

    Post University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Post University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • University of the Rockies

    University of the Rockies responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at University of the Rockies:

    • Doctoral
    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Herzing University

    Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Herzing University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Brandman University

    Brandman University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Brandman University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online and Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Anywhere: Online Campus
    • California: Culver City, Fairfield, Hanford, Irvine, Menifee, Monterey, Ontario, Palm Desert, Palmdale, Riverside, Roseville, Salida, San Diego, Santa Clarita, Santa Maria, Victorville, Visalia, Walnut Creek, Yuba City
    • Washington: Lacey

 More Schools